Incoming first-years may know a little about Nic Moore and SMU basketball. But if not, here’s the short version: SMU basketball won the American Athletic Conference regular season title and conference tournament, and point guard Nic Moore was named AAC Player of the Year. Therefore, SMU and Moore are both defending champions.
Well, Moore is a champion… again. This time with Team USA.
Here’s how it began: In April 2014, the United States International University Sports Federation selected the University of Kansas basketball team to represent the U.S. at this July’s World University Games in South Korea. Fast forward 12 months to Jayhawks sniper Brannen Green’s surgery to repair a torn labrum. Kansas Head Coach Bill Self needed a replacement player for the trip. His former boss Larry Brown previously told him that if he needed another man, Moore would be a smart pick and would enjoy it. Self made the call, and away the Jayhawks – er, Team USA – went.
Moore started all eight games Team USA played, averaging 25 minutes, 6.7 points, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game on 30 percent shooting (32 from three). His 12 three-pointers were the second most on the team. He held the team to a perfect 5-0 record in pool play, highlighted by a 15-point outburst against Chile. He keyed a quarterfinal win over Lithuania with nine points and six steals.
In the semifinals against Russia, More recorded five points and four rebounds. The U.S. met Germany a day later for the gold medal in a clash of undefeated teams. Moore didn’t have his best game (he committed four turnovers and shot 2-for-10 from the field), but he made two late free throws to ice a thrilling 84-77 double overtime win.
Team USA trailed late in regulation and in both overtimes. Guard Frank Mason scored five of Team USA’s final seven points in regulation, including two free throws with 21 seconds left to tie the game. Mason made a game-tying layup with 9.5 seconds left in the first overtime.
Down by two points with less than two minutes left in the second overtime, Wayne Selden Jr. drilled a go-ahead three-pointer to put the U.S. up 78-77. Moore then stole a pass and was promptly fouled, burying both free throws for a three-point lead. Four more insurance free throws later, and the U.S. won its first gold medal at the World University games since 2005.
Add it to the growing list of awards for SMU’s rising senior.
Want a little irony? Moore played on Team USA with incoming Kansas first-year LaGerald Vick. A four-star recruit, Vick was originally committed to SMU as a member of the 2016 class, but reopened his recruitment in May, signed with Kansas and reclassified to 2015. So in the end, Vick and Moore played together, just not on the team most originally pictured.